I recently had a conversation with my Dad about how much pressure we put on ourselves to be ‘great parents’ and how much we put ourselves down when we feel we have failed that. Some nights the guilt I feel is overwhelming “I should have done more with him today, I shouldn’t get so wound up when he refuses to sleep, he hasn’t eaten enough vegetables today”. Yet I don’t spend any time reflecting on the successes.
But what is the perfect parent? It’s something so subjective, how could you possibly meet such a flaky criteria? If I let Rory eat chocolate all day I’d be classed as a bad parent by everyone but I’m pretty sure Rory would find me quite perfect right?
My Dad asked if I thought he was the perfect parent – No – but did I think he was a good parent? Yes. If you asked me to critique my childhood and the way I was raised I could strike up a few points. However, I would be really clutching at straws, critiquing purely because I was asked. Were my parents perfect? No. Did I have a fantastic, balanced and happy childhood? Absolutely. Does my mum spend hours (still) worrying about the impacts of things that happened during my childhood? Yes. Do I worry about those things? No.
If I were to reflect on my day with Rory I would focus on all the negativity and how I could be better. If Rory were to reflect on things would he see that same thing? I don’t think so. I may feel that I don’t do enough with him, I don’t play enough with him, I don’t take him to enough groups… but actually how are Rory’s days really filled? With a HUGE amount of cuddles and laughter. If I were to look at my parenting through Rory’s eyes I am pretty sure he would say it was quite perfect.
At the end of the day, who does our parenting matter to the most – our babies. Do they seem like happy, content human beings? Are they loved and cherished? Yes? – you’re doing a great job!